Real-life inspiration for your spy-novel writer’s block

From the Justice Department complaints against alleged deep-cover Russian spies that Rachel reported on last night:
At approximately 11:00 a.m., agents conducting surveillance in Brooklyn observed MURPHY and ZOTTOLI meet at a pay phone located at the corner of Vanderbilt and DeKalb Avenues, and then walk to a nearby coffee shop (the “Coffee Shop”). When MURPHY and ZOTTOLI entered the Coffee Shop, MURPHY was carrying a backpack and ZOTTOLI was carrying a duffel bag.
Subsequent description of what went down there:
Meeting with M went as planned… A passed to M laptop, two flash drives, and $9k in cash. From what M described, the problem with his equipment is due to his laptop “hanging”/”freezing” before completion of the normal program run…
Those familiar with that neighborhood recognize that the coffee shop in question is Tillie’s, which makes sense because that’s where I do all of my cash-passing spy work as well. I mean, just look at the place. It’s clearly crawling with spies: Is that a wad of cash in that guy’s bag? After the jump, if you didn’t want to engage reading those pdfs, I’ve copied out some of the more exciting scenes from the Justice Department complaints. NOTE: All the spy stuff is only alleged, no one has been convicted of anything. Also NOTE: I know this is actually serious business. If you can’t extract the content from the context, stop reading.
On January 20, 2010, law-enforcement agents, acting pursuant to judicial orders, performed video surveillance on a coffee shop located near the intersection of 47th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, New York (the “Coffee Shop”). CHAPMAN was seated near the window of the Coffee Shop and had with her a bag (the “Tote Bag”). After approximately ten minutes, I observed a minivan pass by the window of the Coffee Shop. Based on my conversations with another law-enforcement agent, I know that Russian Government Official #1 has been observed driving the minivan, recognized by its license plate , on a number o f occasions subsequent to January 20, 2010. As part of the surveillance operation, law-enforcement agents utilized a commercially available tool that can detect the presence of wireless networks. The agents detected the presence of a particular network (the “AD HOC NETWORK”) with two associated MAC 5 addresses (“MAC ADDRESS A” and “MAC ADDRESS B”). Based on my training , experience, and participation in this investigation, I believe that on January 20, CHAPMAN (from the Coffee Shop) and Russian Government official #1 (from the minivan) used their laptop computers (which bore “MAC ADDRESS A” and- “MAC ADDRESS B”) to create the AD HOC NETWORK and to use it to communicate with one another.
It’s not too hard to guess that the coffee shop in this case is this Starbucks. Not as cool a spot as Tillie’s but I guess they needed to mix it up. —-
The Verizon Bag contained a customer agreement for the purchase of a Motorola cellphone. The customer agreement was in the name of “Irine Kutsov,” and indicated a customer address of “99 Fake Street.”
—– It even has a “destroy after reading” note:
In the passport you’ll get a memo with recommendation. Pls, destroy the memo after reading . Be well.
After the discussions described above, UC-2 handed SEMENKO a folded newspaper inside which an envelope containing $5,000 in cash was concealed. UC-2 told SEMENKO, “There is an envelope in there; there is money in it. The money has to go to a park in Arlington tomorrow. It has to be there between 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.” SEMENKO then asked UC-2 for a description of the location where the money was to be delivered, including information about a particular spot underneath a bridge where SEMENKO was to deliver and hide the money (the “Drop Site”). After SEMENKO indicated that he has memorized the information from the map, he gave it back to UC-2 to be destroyed.
I assume UC-2 destroys the map by eating it with a cold, unblinking stare, his face expressionless, but somehow that detail is missing from the report. —-
METSOS and MURPHY also discussed the amount of money that MURPHY received in salary from “our office,” and, at the end of the meeting, METSOS stood up and said: “there’s forty [unintelligible] black bag.”
(The agent goes on to surmise that the bag contains $40,000, but my first thought was that “heads” was the unintelligible part.) ——
First, METSOS secretly buried some of the money in upstate New York – and two years later, in 2006, the Seattle Conspirators flew to New York and dug it up.
During this meeting, METSOS provided MURPHY with a package which METSOS suggested contained MURPHY’s “cut,” and further suggested that the “res of the money” was in a category separate from MURPHY’s “cut.” METSOS then told MURPHY: “you will meet this guy, tell him Uncle Paul loves him… he will know… It is wonderful to be Santa Claus in May.”
After ZOTTOLI arrived, a member of an FBI surveillance team saw MILLS sitting on a bench in the vicinity of the Park Entrance. MILLS remained no the bench for approximately one-and-a-half hours, looking toward the Park Entrance where ZOTTOLI was. Based on my training, experience, and participation in this investigation, I believe that MILLS was engaging in counter-surveillance - watching the area where ZOTTOLI was trying to meet MURPHY, in order to determine whether the meeting was being surveilled.
So at the entrance to Central Park, an FBI agent is watching a spy who is watching another spy to see if anyone is spying on the spy. But I guess sometimes that works. From a different report:
I believe that on April 7, Russian Government Official #1 set out to communicate covertly with CHAPMAN, who was using a laptop computer that bore MAC ADDRESS A - but that he (Russian Government official #1) aborted his efforts to communicate with CHAPMAN because he detected the FBI’s surveillance of him.
…in the summer of 2009, and at the direction of Moscow Center, a Russian government official who works at the Manhattan-based Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations (“Russian Government official #3”) surreptitiously gave cash and a flash memory stick to RICHARD MURPHY, the defendant, during a “brush-pass” at a New York-area train station. Soon thereafter, MURPHY handed over a portion of the money (and the flash memory stick) to MICHAEL ZOTTOLI, the defendant, just as, in 2004, when MURPHY handed over SVR money to ZOTTOLI in Central Park.
C plans to conduct a flash meeting w. A to pass him $300K from our experienced field station rep (R). Half of it is for you. Another half is to be passed to young colleague (known to you) in fall ‘09 - winter ‘10… Place: North White Plains train station (Harlem Line), quiet and deserted on weekends. No surveillance cameras. R - male in early 30s, dark brown hair… Scheme of flash meeting: … A and R meet in lower part of the stair case, in a dead zone. R hands over and A gets pack w. money (A’s BN [Barnes and Noble} bag stays in your hands, A hides pack w. money into his tote).
Among other things, the New Jersey Conspirators were told that MURPHY could definitively recognize “Mike” by having the following exchange with “Mike”: [“]Excuse me, did we meet in Bangkok in April last year?” Reply: I don’t know about April, but I was in Thailand in May of that year. —–
68. In another January 2010 message, Center explained how RICHARD MURPHY, the defendant, and the SVR’s agent would be able to identify each other in Rome, and also described for MURPHY the false Irish “transit passport” that he would receive in Rome for travel from Robe to Moscow: Password (C’s rep [representative]) - “Excuse me, could we have met in Malta in 1999” (key words: Malta, 1999). A’s rep[ly] - “Yes indeed, I was in La Valetta, but in 2000” (key words: La Valetta, 2000(. A’s recognition sign: “Time” magazine in A’s hands (title to be seen from outside). Sign of danger: “Time magazine in A’s left hand (title to be seen from outside).
“During the seminar at [location, omitted] Dv made contacts w. [name and title, omitted] working for [a United States Government research facility, name omitted] in [geographical location of facility, name omitted]. He works on issues of strategic planning related to nuclear weapon development. Dv. had conversations with him about research programs on small yield high penetration nuclear warheads recently authorized by US Congress (nuclear ‘bunker-buster’ warheads).”
Agree with your proposal to use ‘Farmer’ to start building network of students in DC. Your relationship with ‘Parrot’ looks very promising as a valid source of info from US power circles. To star working on him professionally we need all available details on his background, current position, habits, contacts, opportunities, etc….
In the movie version, “Parrot” finds this memo and realizes his relationship with the mysterious Russian is a sham. “Is this all I am to you!?!” he screams at her, clutching the memo in his fist and thrusting it in her face, “Am I just a ‘valid source of info’ to you??” “No, wait, baby, let me explain…” Well anyway, you can probably do your own imagining. :) —–
During 2009, the SVR-directed CYNTHIA MURPHY, the defendant, to “strengthen… ties w. classmates on daily basis incl. professors who can help in job search and who will have (or already have) access to secret info,” and to “[r]eport to C[enter] on their detailed personal data and character traits w. preliminary conclusions about their potential (vulnerability) to be recruited by service.”
This may be the most diabolical of them all. Can you imagine the American CIA agent years and years from now shocked to learn that his top secret info is leaking to the Russians? It couldn’t be Cynthia, I’ve known her since college! I wasn’t even a spy then!

Real-life inspiration for your spy-novel writer's block